BL CK B X: Mary Helena Clark
LUX is delighted to present the first UK solo exhibition by American artist Mary Helena Clark, who will show a new moving image work, The Glass Note, in the context of LUX’s BL CK B X series.
For her exhibition at LUX, Clark has produced a new single-channel piece which draws on the material of her exhibition Ligature at DOCUMENT in Chicago earlier in the year and which questions the relationship between bodies (both animate and inanimate) and sounds, between touching and hearing, between sound and the haptic – problematizing the notion of the body as an instrument and that of the object as a fetish. For Clark, who is interested in redrawing the line of animancy, the body is a vessel, both literally and figuratively. Rocks are presented as a beautiful and terrifying phenomenon. Clark is particularly drawn to rocks that make sounds, rocks that sing with the wind, or that resonate like a bell when struck with a hammer such as those in Ringing Rocks, Pennsylvania in the central segment of the film. Conceived for the intimate space of the gallery “black box”, The Glass Note is a visceral work that heightens the senses.
“The Glass Note re-contextualizes seemingly unconnected elements – fragmented bodies, statuary, a beach marred by a storm, a virtual ocean, the phenomena of lithophonic stones, empty bear cages at an abandoned zoo, a chair that served as a hearing aid – to understand the body’s permeability and to extend the sensorial beyond the corporeal. Playing with notions of “thrown voice” and the untrustworthy image, sound and image commingle, animate, and touch each other, exploring cinema’s inherent ventriloquism.
The text that runs through the video references Ann Desclos’ Story of O, a blog post on statue burnishing etiquette, and a poetic description of an encounter with King Joao VI’s acoustic throne.” (Mary Helena Clark).
Mary Helena Clark is an artist working in film, video, and installation. Her work uses the language of collage to explore dissociative states through cinema, bringing together disparate subjects and styles that suggest an exterior logic or code. Using the transportive qualities of cinema – rhyming sound and image, the constructed spaces of montage – her films explore shifting subjectivities and the limits of the embodied camera. Clark makes enigmatic, associative, oneiric films that propose cinema as both a trance-like and transparent experience. As Federico Windhausen has pointed out, her films “convey an itinerant, searching quality, while also being grounded in the representation of particular places”. Clark’s films demand to be listened to with as much attention as they are seen; sound in fact often provides both an anchoring point and a clue, suggesting states of connectedness and detachment.